- Plan Coverage – the employee’s former employer must have provided a group health plan and employed twenty or more employees.
- Qualified Beneficiaries – this is generally an individual covered by a group health plan, and can also include the employee, the employee’s spouse or dependent children; and occasionally a retired employee may qualify.
- Qualifying Events – these are events that would result in the loss of health coverage for an individual. The two main qualifying events are (1) voluntary or involuntary termination of employment for reasons other than gross misconduct; and (2) reduction in the number of hours of employment.
Prior to 2009, COBRA participants were required to pay the entire insurance premium at the employer’s group rate, which can be costly (employers usually pay part of the premium for active employees). With President Obama’s passage of the Stimulus Package in February of 2009, certain qualified individuals may be eligible for up to a 65% reduction of their premium cost under COBRA. To be eligible for the benefit, the former employee must:
- Be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage at any time between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009;
- Elect COBRA coverage; and
- Be eligible for COBRA as a result of involuntary termination.
For more information regarding your rights under COBRA, please contact an employment attorney.